Did we pay him more mind, the Bible’s portrayal of Abner would surely appear as a case study in psychology and moral analysis. As Abner’s persona is partly eclipsed, however, by his proximity to David, Saul, and other more obviously “complicated” figures, we may easily fail to notice the interesting moral complexity of his life and career.
A kinsman of Saul (1 Samuel 14:50), Abner was a military leader, part of the royal court, and a sharer at the king’s private table. In one of the accounts, he is credited with originally bringing David to Saul’s attention (17:55–57).
With David’s rapid rise, however, the popular prestige of Abner was doubtless dimin . . .
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